It wasn’t a red card that was threatening Costa Rica’s chances in Saturday’s men’s national team match against Mexico, but a “green card” issue that could have kept some star players sidelined for the friendly in Orlando, Florida.
A few of La Sele’s players got caught up in the recent technological malfunctions at U.S. embassies across the world that caused widespread visa delays. The embassy was reconnected last night with 2,600 visas in queue to be processed, according to the U.S. Embassy public affairs officer Alexis Sullivan.
The daily La Nación reported that five players were involved in the backup, including striker Joel Campbell and goalie Esteban Alvarado, who could be thrusted into a starting position as Keylor Navas remains out due to an Achilles tendon injury. The fully intact team travels today to Florida and will remain in the U.S. for the upcoming Copa Oro that kicks off on July 7. Mexico and the home-team United States are the prohibitive favorites to win the tournament.
The U.S. Department of State released a statement yesterday saying that nearly 75 percent of all non-immigrant visa systems were back online and issuing visas. All visas requested after June 8 were affected by the delay, which caused about 300,000 visas worldwide to be backlogged over the past few weeks.
Sullivan told The Tico Times via email that embassy employees would be working beyond normal hours and into the weekend to print the remaining visa requests while they try to return to normal operations little by little.